$5 million announcement is huge news for the Cooloola Coast
THE long-awaited $14 million replacement of the flood-prone Coondoo Creek Bridge on the Tin Can Bay Road is poised to happen, with a $5 million commitment from Wide Bay MP Llew O'Brien yesterday.
The 7m wide timber bridge will be replaced with a 9m-wide concrete bridge, improving flood immunity, travel time between Gympie and the Cooloola Coast, and safety, Mr O'Brien said.
Gympie MP Tony Perrett has now called on the State Government to contribute its share so the replacement can begin.
"It is great news that we will see action on the upgrade of the Coondoo Creek Bridge,” Mr Perrett said.
"I welcome the Federal Government's commitment which has forced the State Labor Government to finally do something about a bridge on a state controlled road.
"This type of project is not usually funded by the Federal Government.
"The Minister for Transport and Main Roads, Mark Bailey, has continually refused to support the upgrade by blaming other levels of government.
"He suggested earlier this year that the State could somehow avoid responsibility because it couldn't secure funds from Canberra.
"He even advised me that the State Government had not identified any specific funding for the project saying that it will be considered in the future against "competing priorities and availabilities of funds.”
"While I think it is sensible to apply for funds, ultimately responsibility for the project stops at Brisbane - not Canberra.
"The LNP has always recognised the importance of this vital piece of infrastructure which is critical to improving safety for motorists and boosting flood immunity for the region.
"We committed $10 million during the state election to be used towards upgrading the bridge and approaches on the Tin Can Bay road to 50 year flood immunity level.
"Instead of blaming other levels of government the State government is now being forced to accept its responsibility,” he said.
Mr O'Brien also announced $372,500 to widen and strengthen a 350m section of Wadell Road, and upgrade the intersection of Wadell Road and the Bruce Highway at Gympie.
"I am really pleased that the Coalition Government is committing $5 million towards the reconstruction of this desperately needed Coondoo Creek Bridge,” Mr O'Brien said.
"Let's make no mistake this is a State bridge on a State controlled road, it's a State responsibility, but the Federal Coalition Government is enabling this bridge to be replaced that should have been done by the State Government a decade ago.
"As locals, we know how vitally important it is to replace this bridge and the benefits it will bring to people travelling between the Cooloola Coast and Gympie.
"People in Tin Can Bay, Cooloola Cove, Rainbow Beach and Gympie will all benefit from this investment.
"The new bridge will be safer, its capacity will be greater, and it will be less prone to flooding,” Mr O'Brien said.
"We've seen tragedy in the near vicinity of this bridge, we have seen the coastal economies seriously affected by flood and being constrained by the incapacity of this vital piece of infrastructure.
"The new bridge will replace the existing seven metre wide timber bridge with a nine metre wide concrete bridge that will support use by heavy vehicles.
"Our $5 million commitment will boost the coastal economy and potentially save lives. Now the State Government needs to pull its finger out and build this bridge!”
Deputy Prime Minister, Nationals' Leader and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the program provides funding to local councils and State and Territory Governments to help fund works designed to improve the safety and efficiency of important heavy vehicle routes around the nation.
"Around Australia we are investing in helping people get home sooner and safer, no matter where they live,” Mr McCormack said.
"That's why we are continuing to deliver road funding where it's needed, based mainly on the local knowledge, especially to councils which make up more than 60 per cent of the 93 projects selected under this latest round of funding.”
The Coondoo Bridge replacement is a $14,821,000 project and is being managed by the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads.
The Wadell Road upgrade is a $745,000 project and is being managed by the Gympie Regional Council.
More on the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program, including a full list of successful Round 6 projects, is available at the website